8 Limbs of Yoga
My teachings are based on Yoga Philosophy
They refer to vows, practices that are primarily concerned with the world around us, and our interaction with it.
AHIMSA – Nonviolence
SATYA – Truthfulness
ASTEYA – Non-stealing
BRAHMACHARYA – Right use of energy
APARIGRAHA – Non-greed
They refer to positive duties directed and observances towards ourselves. ‘Ni’ means ‘Inward’.
SAUCHA – Cleanliness
SANTOSHA – Contentment
TAPAS – Discipline, burning of desire
SVADHYAYA – Self-study or self-reflection
ISVARAPRANIDAHA – Surrender to a higher power
Means POSTURE, ‘to sit’.
The only alignment instruction Patanjali gives for this asana is ‘sthira sukham asanam’ – the posture should be steady and comfortable.
The idea is to be able to sit in comfort so we’re not ‘pulled’ by aches and pains of the body, or restlessness due to an uncomfortable position.
Prana – ENERGY or LIFE FORCE, the very essence that keeps us alive.
Pranayama is also described as BREATH CONTROL.
Breath brings us in contact with the present moment and helps ready the body and mind to turn the focus inward of meditation.
Patanjali instructs that the practitioner should regulate the inhalations, exhalations, and retentions of the breath in a cyclical manner.
Sense Withdrawal – preparation for Meditation practices. Sometimes called Mindfulness.
Pratya means ‘to withdraw’, ‘draw in’ and the second part ahara refers to anything we ‘take in’ by ourselves, such as the various sights, sounds and smells our senses take in continuously.
Dha means ‘holding’ or ‘maintaining’, and Ana means ‘other’ or ‘something else’.
In order to focus on something, senses must withdraw, so that all attention is put on one point of concentration. Often confused with Meditation practice.
We become completely absorbed in the focus of our meditation, and this is when we’re really meditating. It is not something you do. Meditative state is a result of other practices, it happens to you.
Bliss or Enlightenment
When Dhyana is achieved, the practitioner enters a state of Samadhi, in which they merge with the object of their meditation. ‘Sama’ meaning ‘same’ or ‘equal’, and ‘dhi’ meaning ‘to see’.
There’s a reason it’s called realisation – and it’s because reaching Samadhi is not about floating away or being abundantly joyful; it’s about realising the very life that lies in front of us: ‘To see equally’ and without disturbance from the mind.
This is the essence of yoga.
Patanjali saw 8 limbs from high up – the outside perspective. This is why he was able to see clearly and connect them all.
Touching one of the limbs – you already affect the other ones.
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